As a political agitator, journalist, businessman and politician, Hugh Mahon had a varied and fascinating life. Born in Offaly, he and his family migrated to America in 1869, but returned to Ireland in 1880 after their American dream failed. He was active in the Land League in County Wexford which led to his arrest and imprisonment with Parnell in 1881, and exile to Australia. As a crusading journalist he exposed corruption and became a thorn in the side of the Forrest government in Western Australia during the 1890s. He was elected to the first Commonwealth parliament in 1901 and served in four Labor ministries, rising to Minister for External Affairs during the First World War. He has the distinction of being the only person expelled from the Commonwealth parliament after he criticised British rule in Ireland.
This book, the first part of a two-volume biography of Mahon, spans the period from his birth in 1857 to his election to parliament. Pulling together the many facets of Mahon’s life, it reveals the forces which drove this complex man who was reviled by many for denouncing the British Empire while remaining a hero to those who supported self-determination for Ireland.
About the author:
Dr Jeff Kildea is an adjunct professor in Irish Studies at the University of New South Wales. In 2014 he held the Keith Cameron Chair of Australian History at University College Dublin. He is the author of Tearing the Fabric: Sectarianism in Australia 1910-1925 (2002); Anzacs and Ireland (2007); and Wartime Australians: Billy Hughes (2008), as well as numerous articles and papers on the Irish in Australia. He is the director of the Irish Anzacs Project at UNSW.